The Most Ridiculous Story Of 2008?
We're off to an early start with the 2008 edition of "Most Ridiculous Story of the Year," with honors for being the first contender going to Gloria Steinem for her NYT op/ed today, Women are never front-runners.
She would probably call it sexist that I nominated a woman first. That's the tone of her tome.
Update: Of course, just a dozen or so hours after Steinem's op/ed appeared, Hillary's win in New Hampshire made the entire exercise moot. So as you read on, note how the ubber-feminist's entire piece takes on a tone of emotional hysteria not born out by facts. A female trait? I dare you to ask Steinem for an answer. (End of update)
(The rules for the competition are this: Entries must be work that serious writers present in all seriousness that goes far, far beyond the sublime and settle heavily into the imbecilic.)
This piece certainly qualifies, starting with the title. Women are never front-runners? Really? How long was Hillary the front-runner in poll after poll from coast to coast? And wasn't she the front-runner when she ran for senate? What about our women governors -- weren't they front-runners?
The first step in a feminist
She begins her narrative with a portrait of someone who shares Barack Obama's bio but happens to be a woman -- lawyer, former community organizer, married to a lawyer, mother of two, state legislator, black and "an inspirational voice for national unity" -- and asks the question, "Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate?"
Of course not, and it doesn't matter whether the person described is a man or a woman. Obama is even less qualified to be president than the global disaster that was Jimmy Carter and it's stunning that he's the front-runner for the Dem nomination. But that's not how Steinem sees it:
Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.One study?! Oh please. Since when was one study conclusive of anything? Gloria, Honey, was the study done by
Besides, I would argue that lack of intelligence, not gender, is the most most restricting force in American life. After all, the more intelligent George Bush beat the less intelligent John Kerry. Discrimination by race or gender -- and I would argue particularly by gender -- is a thing of the past in America ... unless you're running in Steinem's circle:
That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).I see, Obama won in Iowa because black men got the vote before women did. Illuminating. And disgraceful in how she diminishes the powerful role of women in our society from its beginnings onwards. The vote is not the only measure of a woman's power; ask Abigail Adams. But Steinem's not listening; instead, she's laying out the holy grail of sexism:
So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; ...In other words, those of us who look at the world around us and easily deduce that their are natural differences between men and women are sexists, which is why Hillary lost in Iowa.
... because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; ...Name me something beyond prostate cancer that only affects males? Not football, not war, not despotism, not politics. Of course, we all know that breast cancer funding far outstrips prostate cancer funding.
... because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; ...And women being the primary raisers of children is a bad thing? It is, if you hold to the mistaken belief that there are no real differences between men and women, but anyone who has noted that female breasts produce milk and men's don't will see the fallacy of the feminist point of view here.
Her latter point, that men regress into childhood when they see a strong woman, is very interesting; something I'd like to ask Dr. Sanity. My mother was a strong woman and my wife is a strong woman -- in fact, I know precious few weak women -- and I don't find myself reverting to childhood too often. Of course, Steinem probably thinks that getting excited about a football game is reverting to childhood (and crying while watching the latest Lifetime movie isn't).
... because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); ...Steinem falls to long-dong racism. What the heck is "masculinity-affirming" anyway? Is getting a paycheck masculinity-affirming? Satisfying your wife? Chopping a cord of wood? Tuning a car? Opening a door for a feminist? What a ridiculous idea, and to think that I feel more like a man when the more than a little soft around the edges Barack Obama is around is ridiculousness squared. Hillary is much more masculinity-affirming.
... and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.Finally, a point I can nod along with ... except for Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and a host of others who seem to have figured this out quite well.
Steinem then says Obama and Clinton can't argue during debates because:
The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together.So what are they supposed to do? Dainty minuets while the other candidates trounce them? Solidarity fist-thrusting while the other candidates actually discuss issues? The point is ridiculous, anyway. Abolition and sufferage happened to move forward in roughly the same century with many players in common -- but saying they were interdependent is historical revisionism and out of place even in this ridiculous column.
Lest you think that Steinem is supporting Clinton for no other reason than she's a woman, she provides the full list:
I’m supporting Senator Clinton because like Senator Obama she has community organizing experience, but she also has more years in the Senate, an unprecedented eight years of on-the-job training in the White House, no masculinity to prove, the potential to tap a huge reservoir of this country’s talent by her example, and now even the courage to break the no-tears rule.Check, check, check, what?! "No masculinity to prove?" I just don't get these feminists. Out of one side of their mouths, they say women and men are the same, out of the other, they say women should not show masculine trends, and out of the other (they do have three sides to their mouths), they ridicule women who act like women, i.e., feminine.
And she apparently feels women are too dumb and disengaged to apply their talent unless a woman is in office. Of course, Hillary's election would be an inspiration for women, but whether it would have a measurable impact would be questionable, since women are already thoroughly integrated into our society.
And is that what she did yesterday -- break the no tears rule? I don't think Steinem understands the rule. Muskee lost it because he was crying a "Woe is me!" cry, as Hillary was yesterday, as the realization that she just might lose hit her. Bush, on the other hand, wells up regularly and isn't hurt by it, because he cries for others, not himself: The wounded, the killed, the hurting. That, Gloria, is the no-tears rule; it has nothing to do with male or female.
She then launches into five "what worries me" statements:
But what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.
If he's so unifying, why aren't blacks quick to rally around him? And to view Hillary as divisive by her sex is to ignore the
What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.
I just don't know who's making or not making these accusations. If there's any rap on the Obama campaign, it's that he's not addressing the black agenda.
What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t.
Who saw it this way? I heard cries that men couldn't support Hillary because they weren't ready for a woman president and I didn't hear any criticisms of women who supported candidates other than Hillary. They were perceived as individuals with brains, not feminists who blindly follow.
What worries me is that reporters ignore Mr. Obama’s dependence on the old — for instance, the frequent campaign comparisons to John F. Kennedy — while not challenging the slander that her progressive policies are part of the
What Democratic presidential hopeful has not raised John F. Kennedy, and what commentator on Democratic candidates has not done so as well. I've heard no comparisons of Hillary to Jackie, for what it's worth.
What worries me is that some women, perhaps especially younger ones, hope to deny or escape the sexual caste system; thus
Or grow more conservative, if you buy the whole
Done being a worrywart, she concludes:
This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers. We have to be able to say: “I’m supporting her because she’ll be a great president and because she’s a woman.”
Well, duh. And what's your point, then, Steinem? This is the year that both a woman and a black have run serious races for the first time so your sex and race points are already moot. It is becoming evident that two things are ringing Steinem's clock: That a black man is ahead of a white woman, and that George Bush (money, powerful fathers and paper degrees [as if there were any other kind!]).
So in the end, we see where it all begins: Strident feminism and strident liberalism in one package, one blinding the right side of the brain, the other blinding the left. We couldn't ask for a better example of why radical feminism is nearly dead, and deserves to die.
Of course the NYT ran it, since it is a repository of the ridiculous.